Nazi Germany's siege of Leningrad began today in 1941 with the encirclement of the city, cutting off power and water supplies. It was to be an unusually cold winter and some 800,000 people died. As food ran out, the city's dogs, cats, horses, crows and rats also disappeared and rumours of cannibalism grew.
'You don't know what it was like. You just stepped over corpses in the street and on the stairs. You simply stopped taking any notice. It was no use worrying. Terrible things used to happen. Some people went quite insane with hunger. And the practice of hiding the dead somewhere in the house and using their ration cards was very common indeed. There were so many people dying all over the place authorities couldn't keep track of all the deaths ... You should have seen me in February 1942. Oh, Lord, I looked funny! My weight dropped from 70 kilos to 40 kilos in four months!'